Courtesy of Wally S., Wally's Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon, SK
SPIN farmers are always looking ahead, so now that spring is coming, I'm thinking of winter squash plantings. I'll use transplants, start them in mid - May, and put them into the ground in early June. Our short season here in Saskatoon ( zone 3 ) is often over in mid-September, at least for warm weather crops. So I find these things, called Kozy Coats or Walls of Water, help get squash plants off to a quick start.
They are filled with water and help keep the plants warmer at night. We place a tomato cage inside the coat which allows for extra support. Plants are watered with a hose once or twice a week, and the crater like depression around each plant means the water will stay around the plant. We have also had a problem with gophers at this site, and the coats keep these pests away. I keep them on all summer. The plants just explode out of the coats in a few weeks.
Squash is a good crop for winter's farmers markets when offerings are more limited. Selling them in sections increases their per head value. Using the SPIN system you can target $1,000 - $2,000 gross per segment, which is 1,000 sq.ft.
You can see Gail's take on turning squash and pumpkins into high value crops on SPIN's youtube channel here.